GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility)

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an intergovernmental organisation for the free and open dissemination of biodiversity data from around the world through the internet to support scientific research, promote biological conservation and foster sustainable development.

The GBIF emerged from an OECD Mega Science Forum Working Group and was officially founded in 2001. It is structured as a network of national nodes with an international secretariat based in Copenhagen. It currently (April 2020) comprises 59 countries and 38 international organisations.

The GBIF works primarily at the agency level with a focus on scientific collections. The GBIF currently has four ongoing programmes: Technology and Interoperability (Inventory, Discovery, Access - IDA), Electronic Catalogue of Names of Known Organisms (ECAT), Digitisation of Natural History Collection Data (DIGIT) and Outreach and Capacity Building (OCB).

The GBIF is a network of interconnected databases designed as a basic tool for the scientific development of countries and a significant contribution to the better protection and use of the planet's biodiversity. The GBIF currently (April 2020) provides worldwide access to more than 1.4 billion biodiversity records from some 50,000 databases. Direct access to data and metadata is provided through the international data portal (or through the national data portal for data and metadata exclusively from Spanish providers).

According to the recently published statistics on the use of the GBIF network, Spain is ahead of other European countries in the use of biodiversity data. From a global perspective, with over 100,000 visits per year to the GBIF portal, Spain is the leading European country in terms of the number of queries submitted. The extensive use of the GBIF infrastructure in Spain reflects the strength of Spanish biodiversity research and the value attached to biodiversity management on a national level, as well as the degree of implementation of the new GBIF scientific infrastructure.

National Biodiversity Information node

The GBIF Spain node (GBIF.ES) was created after Spain joined the GBIF in 2001 through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding by the then Ministry of Science and Technology. The Ministry entrusted the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) with the implementation, development and coordination of GBIF activities in Spain. The CSIC, through the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the Royal Botanical Garden, carried out this task by setting up the Coordination Unit in 2003.

The GBIF.ES national node is structured as a network made up of interconnected databases (currently 317) belonging to 99 centres or institutions (research centres, universities and Spanish public administrations that hold collections and databases with information on biodiversity) and the Coordination Unit. GBIF Spain's current contribution amounts to more than 38 million biodiversity records.

Limited access to information on biodiversity is a major challenge, not only for the advancement of science but also for effective environmental management and sustainable development. In this regard, the value of GBIF is demonstrated by making up-to-date, representative and scientifically valid information on biodiversity available to everyone, making it possible to undertake studies on a scale that was previously unattainable (models that explain the distribution of species, predictive models based on climate change, etc.) and to improve decision-making related to the conservation and use of biodiversity.


GBIF Secretariat

Universitetsparken 15. DK-2100 Copenhagen Ø. DENMARK

+45 35 32 14 70

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